Most coffee-lovers are pretty particular when it comes to their choice of brew. But one place where options can be somewhat limited is at 30,000 feet on board an aircraft.
As coffee culture sweeps over the cosmopolitan capitals of the world, gentrified neighbourhoods from Brooklyn to Brixton are now awash with artsy coffee shops with racing bikes hanging up on the wall or from the ceiling.
And savvy airlines have taken note. So let’s take a look at which airlines serve the best coffee in the skies…
Austrian Airlines – DO & CO
With an incredible ten-item “Viennese coffee house in the clouds” in its international long-haul business class cabin, Austrian Airlines certainly appeases even the most discerning java enthusiast. Offerings include Austrian specialities such as an Einspänner (black coffee with whipped cream) or Melange (coffee with milk foam) – each of which is always served in a porcelain cup, of course.
Singapore Airlines – illy Monoarabica
Widely regarded as one of the best airlines in the world, Singapore serves the illy’s delicious single-origin Monoarabica. From Arabica beans carefully selected from nine different countries – including Ethiopia, Brazil, and Guatemala – Monoarabica coffee has a unique flavour and aroma that doesn’t lose its taste at 30,000 feet. Monoarabica is only served to Singapore’s premium passengers, however, with Economy passengers having to make do with illy’s original blend.
Air New Zealand – Hummingbird Coffee
Air New Zealand has recently started serving Christchurch-based Hummingbird Coffee in its international Business Premier and Premium Economy cabins as well as in its airport lounges. Following extensive tastings of various brands, including blind tastings with customers at altitude and with external coffee experts both on the ground and in the air, the airline settled on the organic, fair trade Kiwi coffee.
Turkish Airlines – Traditional Turkish Coffee
While the strong traditional Turkish coffee that is served by the country’s flag carrier doesn’t suit everyone’s taste, many love it. Turkish coffee is made by simmering ground beans rather than via filters, with the addition of a number of spice such as cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and vanilla powder.
British Airways – Java Republic
BA offers an onboard food and drinks menu from highstreet favourite Marks & Spencer, and this includes coffee from Irish roasters Java Republic.
Emirates – Costa Coffee
With 2,000 shops around the world, UK-based Costa Coffee is one of the industry’s most well-known brands. It is also available onboard all Emirates flights.
Japan Airlines – JAL Cafe Lines
Japan Airlines serves its own coffee brand, JAL Cafe Lines, which has been developed for the airline by a number of Japanese coffee experts.
Qatar Airways, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines, Swiss, Lufthansa, Virgin Australia – Nespresso
Nespresso has had a presence in the travel industry since 1994, and this popular Swiss brand is still served on board many airlines.